Wasted government spending is more than just waste. It is an excuse to keep federal employees on the job tracking down lost tax dollars. It also enriches those doing business with the government, an expensive perk and part of using and abusing programs that are too large, too expensive, and too unwieldy to administer.
Health care entitlements already waste tens of billions every year, but get ready. There is every reason to expect that Obamacare waste will be staggering as we add to government health care rolls.
Wasted government spending is the cost of doing business.
We worry about entitlement budgets, but how often do we consider that wasted government spending is not unforeseen, but planned for? Washington gives us new bad payment goals every year and the tens of billions of dollars improperly paid by healthcare entitlements top the list. Are we hearing a prediction when the president talks about his namesake health care law’s implementation?
But it’s still a big undertaking. And what we’re doing is making sure that every single day we are constantly trying to hit our marks so that it will be in place.¹
When you are talking about hundreds of billions in spending, trying isn’t good enough. We have been trying to hit our government’s bad payment marks for years and have been left with 11.4% wasted by Medicare Part C, 7.1% by Medicaid, and 8.2% by the Children’s Health Insurance “CHIP” Program.² The president is already distancing himself from what Obamacare may do to our national health care bill, pinning the blame on Republican governors and state legislatures he fears will refuse to play ball.³
Is this the start of a revolt against health care welfare?
States are on alert about Obamacare Medicaid costs, a wise move considering that the man pointing fingers at Republican state governments hails from Illinois, the Land of Lincoln and worthless tax dollars (see: Blighted Fiscal Policy Travels From Illinois to the Oval Office). South Carolina took the hint and rejected Obamacare in part because of the Medicaid expansion. How many more states will bail because the economy has already put too much of a dent in their public assistance budgets?
Government waste means opportunity for many.
Health & Human Services advises physicians on all the different places where tax dollars can slip through the cracks, from dealings with payers, to health care businesses, to working with vendors.4 When HHS tells doctors how important it is to accurately bill for their services and maintain good medical records, why should it expect to be taken seriously when two federal agencies have been trying to figure out how to share their medical records for 15 years?
In summary, while VA and DOD have made progress in increasing interoperability between their health information systems over the past 15 years, these efforts have faced longstanding challenges. In large part, these have been the result of inadequate program management and accountability.5
Health care entitlement waste is welfare for providers.
Washington is loose with the cash we give it and the stories of cost overruns and unscrupulous contractors are so commonplace they are hardly worth a mention. Why do some contractors overcharge the government? Why do health care providers commit fraud? Because they can. It’s how Washington does business.
Health care entitlement fraud has become a mainstream pursuit. Hospitals end up on the hot seat most frequently for civil investigations while medical facilities like doctor’s practices and clinics come under the spotlight most often for criminal fraud.6 When Obamacare kicks in full force and Medicaid fraud and waste skyrocket, Washington will blame the states just like Hilda Solis blamed them for unemployment insurance fraud (see: Government Blames States While Illegals Cash Benefit Checks). We can only hope that more states will follow South Carolina’s lead and back out of Obamacare before things get that far. Washington only has to tally the losses to waste and fraud. Taxpayers have to pay the tab.